Mum's on-going fight to save son's education
The mother of a son with special educational needs has been left furious as Bucks County Council vetoed her son's preferred school option to, she says, save money.
Margaret Sheppard’s son, David, has a range of complex special needs and in 2015 he was classified as a child at risk, regarding his vulnerability in the community.
He was diagnosed with ADHD at three, with autism at 12 and suffers from attachment issues, where he easily forms bonds with people, leaving him upset at a changing environment.
He was placed in Parklands School, supposedly until he was 18, so they could continue the work they had begun in improving both his behaviour and his educational progress.
But in July 2016, Action for Children announced they were closing Parklands School.
Aylesbury College couldn’t meet his needs, along with Milton Keynes College, and his mother has faced a constant uphill struggle to find a school to take David.
She even wrote a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May asking her opinion of special education needs (SEN).
They thought they were in luck as a meeting with Potterspury Lodge in Towcester went well. They subsequently went to visit the school and were thrilled with what they found.
It seemed like a perfect fit.
The family, who live in Winslow, got in touch with SEN to inform them of their preferred decision to go with Potterspury School.
Mrs Sheppard said: “Pottersbury was the preferred option, however the council decided to place David with MacIntyres.
“I’ve heard they do offer good children’s services but this is simply not suitable for David.
“They ferry him around on public transport all day, and even left him to fend for himself while they went to get their lunch.
“What they have done is put cost above quality of care, they have gone for the cheap option.
“We have already rejected this option, and they didn’t even tell us about their decision making process.”
“It’s just not suitable to have him doing so much travelling. social services agree, his psyciatrist agrees, his psychologist agrees and his previous school all agree! It’s only Bucks County Council who don’t.”
In a letter to the council, Margaret wrote: “I note again that you ignore your inability to provide an interim solution and not to meet the needs of my son. “However, given that you have tried to avoid dealing with this for the past two weeks I am no longer surprised by ire.
“In fact I would now be completely shocked if you actually did your job properly and provided for some sort of education while we find the most appropriate place for him.”
David said he wanted to earn qualifications and Potterspury would have been perfect.
“As far as aspirations, I want qualifications.
“I also want them to come here and tell me why I can’t get a job.
“I’ve been to Bucks County Council and I’ve wasted time and effort when they could have sorted it out.
“Do they think this is acceptable to mess me around like this?
“I am becoming more and more fed up every day.”
A statement from Bucks County Council said: “Our process looks in detail at the needs of the child, and we then arrange provision that meets their special educational needs.
“The council is in communication with the family concerned over this particular case,” the statement added.